Come Spring and Self-Sufficient Success.

Last year I tried this thing on going *big* with the blogging. I think I took a dive into it with an off-start point, as I don’t enjoy writing advice and how-tos. I like writing about life, not so much to inspire the masses, but as happens to many I know, things process in a different way through writing, talking and sharing. 

One of the reasons why I enjoy circle work so much, is because things process differently in a setting like that. Where we aren’t there to deliver, put up a show, or put on a mask; it’s a different way of relating to self and others. 

So sitting down here at the computer, I am relating to this in a new way. Many have asked why I don’t blog about life here in the forest. Or show what we do and choices we’ve made. It never really stuck with me … why would that be interesting? However over the past few months I have begun to feel a desire to share a bit more. Realizing, I guess, that we are doing a lot of cool things here. 

My beautiful sister has been my communications woman for a month and she also got the inspiration stirring. So here we go. Attempt number 14 to find a way of creating a blog presence that feels creative and interesting to write. 

Spring here has been a tease for a few weeks. Are you coming? Nope not yet. Patience, people of the north. And there has been a weird energy in the people around me, and myself included, of wanting to get things rolling, and still not feeling fully capable to gain momentum. I’ve felt a long take off ramp is ready and yet my body hasn’t been willing to unfold in the pace that I’ve set things up for. 

 Sorting seeds and checking in with the ones I harvested and fermented last year. 

Sorting seeds and checking in with the ones I harvested and fermented last year. 

 

But this weekend it was as if it finally clicked into place and we put on warm clothes and fled into the garden. We got the seeds out, trying to plan what we would like to grow this year. And more importantly, where. 

 

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One of the biggest lessons has been - PLAN - and be realistic in our ambitions. I once was told that after 5 years of getting this self-sufficient lifestyle going, you will have made enough mistakes to begin a route to success. It feels like we may need a little more…

I have a good feeling about this year and our harvest adventure. 

This is what our first real spring garden looks like - mud and more mud. We got most of the early veg ready and have it in a warm(er) space and hopefully we will begin to see little green heads popping out of there soon. 

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We’ve had success with onions, potatoes, zucchini, strawberries, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, peppers, garlic, rocket and beans. So this is where we are starting. Hoping to add some cabbages, squash, pumpkin and leeks this year. Cross your fingers. :)

Our idea is that guests at the *Forest Retreat House* can enjoy going out and fetching greens for their dinner. I will write about this space soon. It's an adventure for sure!!! 

Love
Carina

Bleeding sustainably...

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Most women are beginning to notice the rise in women owning their blood. Some find it over the top, gross, something that should continue to be private and toned down. 

Others, me included, find the power in knowing how my cycle influences me throughout the month. And more so how my way of living influences my cycle. It is our feedback system if we dare to listen. It tells a lot. And whether you feel like claiming it publicly or not, I can only recommend beginning to explore your cycle. 

This is not only the bleeding time, but the full cycle from pre ovulation all the way around to the days you bleed. 

Tuning into emotions, mood, physical sensation, energy. In this post I share a little more on tracking your cycle. Take a read…

For this post I wanted to bring attention to the less-waste approaches I’ve made when it comes to my cycle. 

It is very simple actually, I stopped buying pads, tampons (only used those when I was a teen) and have invested in 6 fabric pads and a luna cup. That is all I use. 

It is easy. I have a little wet bag for used pads. Wash them with towels etc. No smell or a bloody mess… haha. 

But the thing that brings me true joy is what it saves me money wise and Earth wise. 

 

The Numbers

Meet Jaluna Red ;) . She’s 50 and just had her last period. She had her first when she was 12. She has 2 children and with both kids her cycle began again 10 months after giving birth. 

The past 2 years her cycle has been a little irregular.  So taking all of this into calculation, she has had around 408 bleeds in her life time. 

Jaluna used to bleed 5 days on average and used 4-5 pads or tampons a day. (You can do your own calculation. I have 3 girls so I will experience fewer.) 

Jaluna has used a whopping 8160 pads/tampons in those years!! That’s a lot going down the drain or in the trash! 

She used a common brand, non organic etc. 1 pad cost her around 20cents.* So in her life time she spends roughly 1600USD on pads/tampons alone.

It’s a lot really. 

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My calculation
So let’s say I have to buy three cups in my bleeding years. Each cup lasts around 10years = 17USD per cup.

And then 3x 6 cloth pads (those who can make them themselves can save even more) = 25USD for a 6pack.

All together it has cost me roughly 126USD with the zero waste version. 

 

A lot of math, but worth doing! 

So there are a few motivation pointers to look at when it comes to choosing what you use. And more and more are coming up: underwear was recently launched for example, so you don’t need any of the options above, sponges and more. 

Glancing at these numbers it gives me the sense of the scale of our choices. 

Little me may not make a big difference… we think. But let’s say that I get 4 friends to join me. We’ve already saved the world from 32640 pads/tampons. Each of those 4 inspires 4 more etc. and all of the sudden we are making an impact. 

Numbers will vary no doubt. Cost will vary no doubt. But the amount of trash we generate continues to rise. Where it goes. What it means to our Earth will also be discussed, for me my consumption and consumer habits is in my power and worth looking at 1 million *little me* actions is no longer insignificant! 

I hope that this post will inspire you to do your research and what is out there, and maybe find a way to bring the number down of what we throw away or flush out into our water. 

With Love
Cx

For inspiration on zero waste action in your business check out this post... 

 

*I ran it through Google and these are prices on average in Europe. See links below. It will vary from country to country. But the amount of pads being thrown away is the same, regardless of the price. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AFMJMPQ/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?pd_rd_i=B01AFMJMPQ&pd_rd_wg=pX95O&pd_rd_r=MQ44JXCKV8B8PQZHRFZ7&pd_rd_w=0Looe&th=1

 

https://menstrualcupreviews.net/go/MeLuna-Main

First steps to my Zero Waste Business.

I have talked a bit about zero waste and how much I love this movement that is happening around the Globe. My interview with Bea Johnson kicked it off for me

Some say climate change is bull. Others claim that ditching wrapping won’t change anything anyway. Others preach that plastic helps the fight against food waste. And as with everything else, people have opinions and we don’t all agree. 

I do believe that I make the changes I can with what I have, this doesn’t mean you do the same as me. Maybe just feel inspired to take a look at the steps that resonate with you. 

Reducing my waste and CO2 trail makes so much sense. 

In the beginning of 2017 I declared this to be a buy-nothing-new. I haven’t - well that’s not true; I bought a bra. But I need mine specially made so that was a ‘had to’ to save my back. And twice something dropped into my basket at the store that was a thing, not food, and I wasn’t really thinking. So in 5+ months, 3 new things have been purchased - I say that is doing pretty good. 

An area where I have had to really make some choices and consider how to go about it, is with my business. How do I reduce waste in this area? 

 

Because clearly I HAD to have business cards, handouts, manuals, cd’s, flyers, prints for my bookkeeping, postcards, magnets, notes and the list is long. 

Especially business cards and flyers. Thinking about what I do with the ones I receive, it just no longer made sense to have my own. They go in the bin… 

When reminding myself of the enormous amount - of all of the above - I have thrown away, it seemed there was room for improvement. 

 

So I no longer order or print: 

  • Business cards
  • Flyers
  • Postcards
  • Magnets
  • Hand-outs
  • Manuals
  • Cd’s (yeah who does that anyway... in our house we still dedicate a wall to this ancient thang)

 

That’s a huge amount of paper no longer coming in through my business. Not to mention money saved. I offer PDF’s. People can print them if they want or just write the points that matter in their journal etc. 

When I do print, I use the back side of my daughter’s school print outs (there’s enough to keep a few businesses running). My mom is a teacher and they print out piles of stuff for their students and often too many copies - she brings them home for me and I use those. 

Is there room to do more - sure. For a giant first step, I am pleased. I am implementing other things such as using recycled packaging to send out the herb products - that’s for another post. 

I know some will roll their eyes and think Jesus, a few flyers never hurt anyone. 

 

Well let’s play with some numbers: 

In Denmark alone there are around 125.000 solo businesses (2012) and that number is higher today. 

Let’s say each one of them buys 300 business cards and 500 flyers (what I did the first few years) that = 10.0000000 bits of paper are ending up in the garbage at some point and just for a one-off glance. Now bring that to a Global scale… phew, I wouldn't know how to calculate that. 

And this is not even counting the huge corporations. 

It no longer feels irrelevant to me. 

Fun fact - the business didn’t die out from the lack of exposure… Facebook, Instagram, talking to real people, fucking up and having wins have kept the wheels turning. 

Is this right for you. Maybe not, maybe flyers are the only way you feel you can get the word out. But are there other ways you can reduce your waste in your business? 

Would love to hear your ideas and thoughts. <3

My inner nature... on tracking your cycle.

One of my teachers once said ‘we can’t begin to understand, save or connect with nature, before we connect to our own’. Maybe a little mis-quoted, but this is my take away. Thank you Laila. 

This has been so true in my own practice. 

I have always felt connected to the wild though… I was born into the icy winds of the North. Fell in love with the mountains in Scotland. Teared up in the dangerous woods in Bosnia. And moved to the countryside in Denmark, which may not be as in-your-face breathtaking as the Rockies, but I am learning more and more each day from this gentle wilderness. 

But seeing myself as wild, as part of the un-graspable cycle of nature, never penetrated the surface.  

Until pregnancy. Until birth. Until I began to discover the power of my cycle. Until I became aware, really aware, of the force within that wasn’t in my control. It lived in me, but in many ways, a slightarrogance led me to believe that I was in charge… of everything. 

Growing and birthing a human and beginning to track my monthly cycle crafted me a new set of spectacles. This body is such a magical thing; not just a simple container to be unsatisfied with. 

 

 

And yes we know, we heard, the body mind thing. But it’s a meer tip of the iceberg. Getting intimate with my period, moon time, my monthly has uncovered a feedback system, like a truth coming from kids, drunk people and your cycle. It will tell you when something is up. We just need to listen. 

This is my invitation to you to - if never again - track your cycle for 3 months. 

You can use apps on your phone, but for this first 3 months I recommend you print out the Moon time track sheet (you can download it for free when you sign up here). Using the printable rather than an app gives you an easier overview. 

As you fill out the sheet over the next few months, certain patterns may begin to become clear: 

  • certains emotions at certain times
  • cravings
  • moodswings
  • sex drive
  • energy levels 
  • days when everyone is driving you nuts
  • days when nothing can beat you down
  • creativity
  • and and and

There is A LOT to write, share, say. But this is where it begins. As the lovely ladies at RedSchool call it: Menstrual Cycle Awareness (MCA). This is where it begins to unfold. Just how intelligent, sensitive and responsive the body is. How the changes in us each month become our allies and not the shit that gets in the way. It resonates when the same wise women refer to it as our inbuilt spiritual practice. 

I see patterns in me be mirrored in the seasons outside. I see how this isn’t inclusive to me. But the cycle happens all around me. I see that there is the monthly cycle, the seasons, the life cycle, the night and day and how each have their teachings. 

I feel a follow up post in the near future. For now download the track sheet and each day (or as often as you can) make note of: 

  • emotions
  • body
  • energy
  • mood
  • and what ever you feel is relevant

It doesn’t have to go all *dear dairy*; make it short and doable. 

Can’t wait to hear what comes up for you. <3

Day 9: What Mindfulness teaches me...

As a part of this challenge, and feeling challenged with it. I began to clean and clear out my computer. I found an essay I was asked to do for my 2nd mindfulness teacher training 3 years ago. 

It was just after my grandmother passed and I wasn't in the academia mindset. But I re-read what I wrote and thought it still fits like a glove. 

This is my response to the question Mark and Martin (our teachers) asked. 

What does it mean to teach with integrity and depth - for me

1st assignment Mindfulness TT. 

I had to go back and do this over. The past months have been filled with death and family issues that have taken me back to old stories patterns and anger. The past few days intensifying that and I felt like telling mindfulness to go fuck itself. Which is essential for me in how I can teach. 

I take it as a sign that as I sit a write this, the mist is so thick outside that I can’t see the house across the street. I feel a little clouded and this is my exploration of that. This is a step deeper into practice, teaching and how I define that for myself. 1500 words may fall short or turn out to be way too many... we will see.      

I am sorry for the delay.

Taking the seat or showing up these days is painful. It hurts. Rumination and self-pitty battle with wanting things to be different. Taking the seat is like forcing myself to re-live the grief from old stories and bliss seems to await in crappy TV shows and stuffing my face. And I have asked myself many times why would I want to put myself through that again. 

As it spins into a cycle, a dog chasing it’s own tale, what is my practice? In the light of this essay and training - is it mindfulness? No. And then again what is mindfulness. 

Even after years with a (mindfulness) practice I still don’t fully know what it is. It is a concept, an idea, a practice that is so many things that a one word label seems off. It creates resistance because I can’t grasp it, I don’t know it. 

So to get past being stuck on the word, what it has represented, the value or lack of, I have had to find a way of describing the meaning that feels aligned with me.

Showing up makes sense to me. Showing up means meeting my experience. Showing up means I am not trying to be the Dalai Lama, I am not aiming for enlightenment, it gives me breathing room and space for awareness. I don’t feel obliged to look like I have been touched by an angel or rebel against all of the above. The sense of showing up, opens me up allows me to be exactly as I am. I feel free’er. 

I have always been good at adapting language, dialects, styles. When setting down this route, that talent was very visible when it came to teaching. Following a teacher and finding my own style in that process didn’t come natural - to me. The more I taught, the more I was evaluated and the further I feel I have come from the integrity and depth of my own practice. Resistance builded and calling myself a teacher felt like a load of Bull Shit. I was an actor not a teacher. 

To begin to explore what teaching is I feel I should look at how I define a teacher - a master of mindfulness. The alter ego. The pruity of awareness and insight. Shoulder shrug - how the hell do you “live up to that”? A different approach is to look at what I feel a teacher is to me.

The last evening at Sharpham brought that forward. Not in your talks or meditations, but when we danced and you both joined. A teacher for me is someone who shows up, let’s go and moves. I am truly inspired by stories. By people who can let loose in a group. When I can feel their presence with me body and not my mind. That is what teaches me. 

If I could write out a wish list of what would to bring forward as a teacher it would be trust, letting go of wanting to fix, taking the seat, tapping into my own experience and letting go of what I want to be in that chair. 

And this is where I am stuck. I am in tears by my computer and I feel I am pushing myself too hard. My mind is with my grandmother and if I was to take any of my own advice that I would give to a student it would be to listen to that. Taking care of what is important and present is more important than trying to be good. 

I would allow myself to go home, crawl under the covers and feel through the sense of loss. Being held by my partner and drinking tea. I would allow myself to let go of shoulds and tasks and show up for what is here within me. I would move my body and connect to what body is in that moment. 

Because regardless of any agenda I as a teacher might have had, sensing what is here is essential. 

And yet I am not, I am trying to be a good student and get shit done. 

I am turning in these words with no clear direction no fine moral or punch-line. But for the past 2 days this is what depth and integrity meant to me.

Day 6: The 3's in my life..

3 girls. Lilli, Nola, Eivy, 7, 4, 1. My little pack. 
My wonders and my worries. My challenges and my smiles. The shitty diapers and the outfit picking hell each morning (the 1 year old included…)
The hugs and kisses. The missing teeth and gum in long tangly hair. The tears and victories. The pain of girl friendships and managing being a parent among other parents (not my fav). Colorful drawings and clay-blob-things.
And a heart that expands beyond what I thought was possible. 

With them came 3 births. These stories are powerful. 1 very challenging hospital birth, 1 home birth, 1 planned home birth gone hospital. Each had elements that needed working through and each brought a healthy beautiful child into this world. I want to talk more about birth stories in a later post. They stick with us. My mother in law gave birth to my man 38 years ago and that story still has its effect on her. Birth’s matter. Trauma of birth is real, even if the outcome is one of joy. 

The 3 pregnancies. I loved it. Being pregnant. Would do it again if I could stomach the thought of no sleep. But I really really REALLy can’t. No sleep has been torture beyond belief. I don’t know who I‘ve been the past 4 years. ZZZZZombie doesn’t cut it. 

3 dogs I’ve had in my life. One as a kid. Crazy Frida. I still have scars. And then our little gang of English bulldogs; Harvey and Norma. My man’s dream, not mine. I am learning to love them and the mess they make. Their smell not so much. 

And anything else I could think of came in larger numbers. I can’t find anymore 3’s. 

I have lived in 4 countries. Moved 20+ times in my life. Gone to 11 schools. Had 15+ different jobs. 1 love (Stig is reading). 4 siblings. 2 cars. 17 bikes. 1 of them stolen. 

But all good things come in 3’s and my list feels like proof of that. 

Prompt for January 7th: A tribute to…

Day 4: What I listen to...

I dig podcasts. I used to do my own show. Thinking that I may start a new show someday. When I jump in my sanctuary - MY CAR - podcasts educate me, teach me stuff and tell me stories from far away places. I’ll just rest here for a moment, because I do find myself volunteering to drive anywhere and everywhere these days. I love driving on my own and it is a place where I truly have a second to myself. And I’m ok with that.

Do you know the feeling? 

I’ve been a mom now for nearly 8 years, and in those years my concentration level has gone down the drain. Reading happens in bite size portions and books like to spread themselves over several years… so I really get value for money. Podcasts offer a great in between.

When I get in my car and flutter open my ears, my blood pressure drops and I feel relaxed. This can’t happen with the kids on a drive along. They booooh me until sweet music fills ‘er up. 

So what podcasts do I enjoy. HA. I was thinking maybe saving this for the guilty pleasure post, but I have enough material for that one too. So here it goes. 

My 3 go to podcasts. 

Woolful… A knitting podcast, but so much more. A lot of episodes about people who work with sheep. I’m crying laughing as I read this because it sounds so fucking strange. But it is such an inspiring podcast. Instant calm and inspired for how I want to live my everyday life. 

Love, sex, desire… The more I work with women and myself, the more I feel intrigued to learn more about my own sexuality and pleasure. Susana interviews a lot of cool people, although most of them are in Australia. Am searching for similar podcast with teachers closer to DK. I ask for a host that doesn’t get too kittenish, I know that would be a problem for me. Suggestions? 

Living Homegrown… When we left the city and moved out here this self sufficient business was a big motivation factor. And we are well on our way. We have learned a lot from our mistakes and this year pretty on top of the plan. Theresa brings on guests from around the World and also people who are farming etc. in the North, which is relevant to us. Any anxiety about the World, War or Trump fades away when I listen to this podcast. ;)  

So I know if any my friends are reading this they are screaming that I need help. I would love your inspiration. Which podcasts do you listen to? 

And prefer the ones that dive into nature, women’s health, homesteading, sex. 

Hit me. <3

Prompt for January 5th: What she says... 

Day 3: Dragons

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The original prompt was *Your little dragon is misbehaving*… Hmmm, well the tone between the adults in the house has been lingering in the dirty mind realm and I couldn’t get my mind past the tackiness... I downsized to dragons. 

What do I know about dragons - not much. Stig (my partner) taught me to watch and enjoy fantasy movies. But the love is only a few years deep. And to be honest I don't seem to have the stamina or concentration to really understand that category of films - or what the dragon is all about. 

I could only think of the dragon from 'The Never Ending Story' and remember how mesmerized I was by it's weird bubbly back. The next one was 'Puff the Magic Dragon' and how sad I felt when we were forced to sing it in school. 

Skipping past that. 
Where do you go with Dragons. The above felt too irrelevant. Contemplating the practice of exercising my creativity and embarking on the a post a day, this was exactly what I was wanting. Where do I go? 

A wise man said this: 

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”
— John Lennon

I am a dreamer. My man is the realist. I am also the one with the most nightmares. A dreaded part of my wild imagination. My nightmares stole my attention, most of my life. Jailed in my mind. But "dragons" existed in the realest sense. And that has been the hardest to explain to people around me. 

My work has been allowing my dreams to live in fertile soil. 

The other thing dragon calls on is strength and courage. Own the shit. This creature shows up so timely. Own the story. Question what you call reality. Let your creativity be explored. 

Do you believe in Dragons? 

Prompt January 4th: What I listen to... 

Day 2: I buy... nothing new

So it seems 2017 will become the year of challenges, in a good and fun way. Pushing me out of the comfort of the usual. Good!

As 2016 came to an end, my mom offered a challenge for 2017. A year of buying nothing new. 

I accepted. 

But what does that even mean? 

A few years ago I interviewed Bea Johnson (listen to that interview here), she is the Queen of Zero Waste and author of the book Zero Waste home (2013). 

I was interested in the environment and my impact on it. How could I change the way I live to have less of a negative impact. 

I have a post coming up about Zero Waste later, so I won’t get into that. But this interest has led me, and my mom, to the 2017 buy nothing new. 
In our house, we have A LOT of stuff. Things we need, things forget we have, don’t use, don’t need. 

There is a tendency to buy more of all the stuff, and dump it in a cupboard and then it just sits there until I go nuts and declutter. 

I have never been a huge shopper, but even so - things sneak in. 

This isn’t just a money saving ordeal. I really want to explore how much stuff and needs dominate my life. And if this can be liberating to eliminate from our day to day hustle. 

What does this challenge consist of? 

  • I won’t be buying anything new for 2017, no electronics, clothes, thingies, kitchen gear (even mason jars… arghhh)
  • If people want to give me presents (I love presents…), I ask for experiences or something used
  • I can buy things from thrifts stores, friends, yard sales, DBA and trend sales and places like these. 
  • I can buy food… no brainer… But will by as locally as I can, organic 
  • Toiletries - well the essentials and will commit myself to buying the ones that don’t come in plastic. 
  • Cleaning products, in bulk from LØSmarket
  • And more on plastic, I will do what I can to find the non plastic-warped foods etc. But this will be impossible in some cases. But the intention is clear - as little plastic as possible. 
  • No free samples, these are also new, highly wasteful and most often not really needed
  • Hauling out the sewing machine and repairing what I can, before tossing it out
  • Books… I have a book fetish, which means I have shelves of books I haven’t read yet. Also the library is amazing, I can get any book I need here. So no books this year. 
  • Art supplies… I have enough at the moment to last me a life time. But I will be using them I’ve decided. 
  • Courses… the online ones. Not really that wasteful. But an area where I have spent SOOOO much money. I signed up for many I haven't completed and I don’t need more to not finish. So 2017 I will not buy any online courses. I can do live workshops though. 

These are the basics. As life continues I'm sure questions, needs, demands will arise. So I will do status posts now and then throughout the year. 

Do I think this will be easy, not at all. Even though I don’t consider myself a big spender, I think I will be shocked by how often I have gone to store off- and online to scratch the shopper itch. 

So here’s to as little breaking in 2017 as possible. ;)

Do you want to take on the challenge of buying nothin new in 2017? Throw a link to your post in the comments. 

 

More inspiration on the topic. 

http://robgreenfield.tv/nothingnew/https://youtu.be/2krmmZ-690A

https://youtu.be/2krmmZ-690A

 

Prompt for January 3rd: Dragons